Television with subtitles

For many people, subtitles on television are not just a nice option, but an absolute necessity. For the deaf and hard of hearing in particular, watching TV without subtitles can be compared to trying to read a book without letters or pictures - simply impossible.

Accessibility:

Subtitles turn television into an inclusive medium. People who would otherwise have difficulty following the content can now join in without any problems. Media accessibility is an important issue because it guarantees that all people, regardless of their abilities, have access to the same information and entertainment.

Comprehensibility:

In addition to the obvious benefits for the deaf and hard of hearing, subtitles also offer viewers with a different native language the opportunity to understand programs better. Imagine a complex discussion or a movie with a strong dialect - with subtitles you can make sure you don't miss any important dialog.
But it's not just about simply understanding what is being said. Subtitles can convey emotions, accents and nuances that you might otherwise have missed. They can also be helpful if the sound in a scene is particularly quiet or is drowned out by background noise. The importance of subtitling goes beyond just "seeing and hearing". It is about ensuring that television - one of the world's most widespread forms of entertainment and information - is accessible to all.
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How do subtitles work?

When watching a TV program with subtitles, you've probably asked yourself: "How do those lines at the bottom of the screen appear in sync with the spoken word?" The system behind subtitles is a combination of technology and human work.

Editorial work:

Professional editors and "subtitlers" listen to the audio of a program and translate it into written form. They not only have to make sure that they reproduce the content correctly, but also that the text length and timing match the spoken word.

Speech recognition software:

More recently, specialized software that recognizes speech in real time and converts it to text is also often used. Such software can speed up the process, but in most cases still requires human review to ensure that the subtitles are correct and meaningful.

Transfer of subtitles

Once the subtitles have been created, they have to be transmitted to the viewers. This is where various technologies come into play:

DVB (Digital Video Broadcasting) & HbbTV (Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV):

These digital standards are revolutionary for modern television transmission. If you receive your program via satellite, cable or HD, you probably use DVB. HbbTV is a newer technology that combines traditional television with broadband internet, enabling interactive services. Both standards support the transmission of subtitles, so you can easily activate them via the settings of your TV or receiver.

Teletext/Teletext:

This technology may seem outdated to some, but it has proven its worth over the years. Some broadcasters still offer subtitles via teletext. In most cases, a specific page (e.g. page 150) is reserved for subtitling.
The fascinating thing about subtitles is that they are constantly evolving. With new technologies and a growing awareness of the importance of inclusion and accessibility, there are sure to be many more innovations in this area in the future.

Switch on subtitles on the TV

Whether you are watching a program in a foreign language, want to turn down the sound or suffer from hearing difficulties, hearing loss or deafness, the ability to turn on subtitles on your TV can make all the difference. Fortunately, today's TVs and receivers usually have simple and intuitive methods to make this possible. Here's how to turn on subtitles on your TV.

Switching on subtitles with the remote control

The main tool for switching on subtitles on the TV is usually the remote control. Many modern remote controls have a special "Subtitle" or "Subtitle" button. A simple press of this button can switch subtitles on or off immediately. If your remote doesn't have this button, don't despair. There are other ways.

Switch on subtitles in the TV menu

Most modern televisions have an area for settings or options. Here you can open the menu of your TV, often via a button called "Menu", "Settings" or a cogwheel symbol on the remote control. Navigate to the "Language & Audio" or "Picture & Sound" section. Look for the "Subtitles" or "Subtitle" option here. Once you have found this, you can switch on the subtitles on the TV.

Teletext - a traditional method

Some channels still offer subtitles via teletext. To do this, you need to open the teletext on your TV, often via a "TT" or "TEXT" button on your remote control. Navigate to the page on which the subtitles are offered, often page 150 or similar.

Do all channels have subtitles?

In today's media landscape, where inclusion and accessibility are increasingly coming to the fore, it would be desirable if all TV channels provided subtitles for their programs. But is this really the case? The answer is a little more complex.

Large transmitters and accessibility

Most major national and international television broadcasters have recognized the importance of accessibility and offer subtitles for the majority of their programmes. This is not only out of a sense of responsibility to viewers, but also to reach a wider audience. People with hearing difficulties or those who watch a program in a language they are not familiar with benefit enormously from subtitles.

Regional and smaller stations

However, when we look at regional or smaller broadcasters, the picture becomes less consistent. Some of these broadcasters may not have the resources or technology to subtitle all of their programs. In some cases, it may also be a question of budget, especially if the broadcaster is targeting a more niche audience.

Streaming services and digital platforms

In addition to traditional television channels, streaming services and digital platforms have become increasingly popular in recent years. Many of these services, such as Netflix or Amazon Prime, offer subtitles for almost all of their content. This is particularly useful for people who want to watch programs in different languages.

Alternatives to subtitles: More than just words on the screen

Television is one of the most popular leisure activities in the world. However, not everyone can enjoy conventional television programs without additional aids. While subtitles are an excellent way to make programs accessible for the hearing impaired or those learning a foreign language, there are many who find subtitles distracting or distracting. Fortunately, there are alternatives that can improve the viewing experience for everyone.

Audio description

Imagine you could not only hear a movie, but also "see" it through words. Audio description makes this possible. A professional narrator describes the visual elements of the program in the pauses between dialogues and important sound effects. This can range from the actions and facial expressions of the characters to important scene changes or even colors and moods. Especially for blind or visually impaired viewers, audio description offers a chance to experience the program in its full depth.

TV listening aids

But what if the problem is not seeing, but hearing? Especially in households where several people watch together, it can be difficult to adjust the TV sound so that it is pleasant for everyone. And not everyone wants to read subtitles when watching TV together. This is where TV listening aids come into play.
The OSKAR from faller audio, for example, is a portable TV loudspeaker that brings the sound from the TV directly to your listening position. Thanks to special speech optimization, dialogues and voice contributions are amplified and distracting background noise is filtered out. You can adjust the volume to suit your preferences. Think of it as a personal channel that has been specially developed for your ears. For people with hearing problems, this can make the difference between a frustrating and a captivating viewing experience.